0:00: The Penguins came back to tie the score on three separate occasions but the Maple Leafs had an answer each time and they walk out of Mellon Arena with a 4-3 victory. The Penguins head to the road on Tuesday night for a 7 p.m. faceoff at Buffalo against the Sabres. That games marks the start of a four-game road swing which also takes the Penguins to New Jersey, Tampa Bay and Florida.
The Penguins call a timeout and will have roughly 2.2 seconds to try coming up with a tying goal.
Fleury is off the ice for a sixth-attacker.
It doesn't take Toronto long to go ahead for the fourth time. The biscuit comes to White at the right point and he walks into a slap shot and beats Fleury top shelf to the stick side. Maple Leafs 4, Penguins 3.
A give-and-go between Malkin and Rupp sees Malkin feed a puck through the slot to Rupp standing to the left of Toskala for the easy goal. Malkin and Goligoski get the goals. Penguins 3, Maple Leafs 3.
The Penguins will have a chance to the left of Toskala after an icing call.
Crosby steals the puck just outside the blue line and feeds Rupp coming down the left side. Toskala gets his glove up to get a piece of his slap shot.
Toskala catches Malkin's shot in his stomach as the Penguins center cut to the middle of the ice to create his own chance.
Cooke's penalty expires just as Fleury makes a save to keep the Penguins trailing by only one goal.
Cooke is sent to the penalty box for elbowing.
Bylsma has put Malkin and Crosby together with Ruslan Fedotenko in an effort to tie the game.
Head coach Dan Bylsma was right on at the morning skate when he talked about the Leafs being a team that will shoot the puck from anywhere on the ice:
Win or lose we might have a No. 1 star. Another big glove save by Fleury, this time on Jamal Mayers' shot.
If the Penuins are able to come all the way back in this contest they will have Fleury to thank. He just robbed Nikolai Kulemin with a glove save on his shot from the slot.
Malkin, Kunitz and Guerin dominate the Leafs with help from Alex Goligoski and Jay McKee as the crowds really starts to get back into the game.
Fleury makes two more big saves in the slot, botho on Ponikarovsky.
Fleury comes across his crease from left to right to get his right toe on a chance from Stajan to keep the Penguins within a goal.
Guerin is so close to scoring for the Penguins. Kunitz sends a pass to him right on the doorstep but the puck rolls of his blade.
Kunitz is on the ice and the Penguins will look to draw a power play of their own if they can.
Toronto gets their third chance with the man-advantag as Chris Kunitz
takes a hooking penalty.
The Penguins will look to improve upon their 6-12-3 all-time record under Dan Bylsma.
SECOND PERIOD NOTES:
- The Penguins outshot the Maple Leafs, 13-7 in the middle frame.
- Both teams are 1-for-2 on the man-advantage.
- Pittsburgh is doubling up the Maple Leafs, 24-12, on the faceoff dot.
After 40 minutes at Mellon Arena the Maple Leafs hold a 3-2 lead over the Penguins. Pittsburgh had the better of the shots at 17-16.
ranks fourth in the league with 22 wins heading into Sunday's action.
Toskala struggled a bit in the first matchup between these two teams but he has been fairly good tonight. This time he stops a wraparound chance by Malkin and the rebound off the tape of Guerin.
Crosby goes inside and out on Schenn but cannot get the puck behind Toska who uses his pad to deny the Penguins captain.
Jason Blake always loves playing against the Penguins and he does it once again, throwing a wrist shot from the high slot through the legs of Fleury to give Toronto the lead. Maple Leafs 3, Penguins 2.
Malkin completely undresses Stempniak in the neutral zone and almost walks around the entire Toronto team before his turnaround backhand attempt is stopped by Toskala.
Malkin wins the puck forward o nthe faceoff and feeds Guerin but his tap-in attempt goes off the post to the left of Toskala.
9:38: Sidney Crosby
is always a favorite interview when the Toronto media comes to town. As usual he spoke on a variety of issues at today's morning skate:
Toronto carried the play in the first period but the Penguins have scored the only goal of the middle frame and have an 8-2 advantage in shots midway through the period.
The Penguins power play continues to stay hot. Sergei Gonchar passes along the right-wing boards to Crosby, who uses a power move to walk from the far corner to the net. He undresses Schenn and Toskala before throwing a shot off the post and off Toskala into the cage. Penguins 2, Maple Leafs 2.
Ruslan Fedotenko collides with the Maple Leafs Tomas Kaberle while Matt Cooke
has the Penguins lone tally.
Matt Stajan is penalized for hooking.
Toskala is having trouble with some of the recent first chances by the Penguins as he bobbles a Guerin shot from the right-wing circle.
Staal skates the puck the length of the ice and goes behind the Leafs net before attempting a stuff-in on Toskala. The puck was laying between his legs as Cooke tried banging home the rebound.
Malkin throws a backhander through the crease and the puck almost gets behind Toskala off the skate of Ian White.
Bill Guerin gets behind the defense and is denied not once but twice by Toskala as he tries to go five-hole.
The Penguins and Leafs return to action.
FIRST PERIOD NOTES:
- Brooks Orpik
led the Penguins with four hits.
- The Penguins went 9-8 on faceoffs.
- Jordan Staal
went 5-1 on faceoffs.
Toronto takes a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. The Maple Leafs have a 9-4 advantage in shots as well.
Fleury comes out on top of his crease to catch a sneaky wrist shot from Stempniak flying down the left wing.
Fleury kicks his right pad out to stop a Phil Kessel wrist shot from the slot.
Toronto takes the lead back as Stempniak, standing right outside Fleury's crease, throws a Ponikarovsky rebound behind Fleury. Maple Leafs 2, Penguins 1.
4:25: Marc-Andre Fleury
spoke at the morning skate about the turnaround of the Leafs, who were winless after the Penguins' 5-2 victory on Oct. 10, but have since won 13 times:
Malkin sends the Leafs on their second power play of the period by taking a hooking penalty.
The Penguins cannot make White pay for taking a delay of game penalty.
Ian White, who scored last night in Toronto's 3-2 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens at the Air Canada Centre, takes a delay of game penalty for shooting the puck into the crowd. The Penguins scored three times on the man-advantage against the Leafs back on Oct. 10.
Orpik is back and the Leafs are 0-for-1 on the power play.
The crowd enjoyed watching Brooks Orpik
drill Blake behind the Penguins net but the referees - not so much as they give Orpik a cross-checking penalty.
Tonight marks the ninth anniversary of Penguins owner Mario Lemieux returning from retirement on Dec. 27, 2000 against the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 5-0 Penguins' victory. Lemieux scored once and had two assists in one of the greatest nights in the history of professional sports in the city of Pittsburgh.
The Penguins catch a break as the whistle is blown on a shot from Jason Blake before Primeau can pounce on the rebound as Fleury has a little trouble handling the shot.
It doesn' take long for the Penguins to answer the Toronto goal. Matt Cooke
blocks Gernet Exelby's shot at the left point and skates two-on-one with Rupp. He fires a lazer over the blocker of Vesa Toskala to knot the score. Penguins 1, Maple Leafs 1.
The Leafs have come out firing as Lee Stempniak steals a pass and has his shot from the right circle denied by Fleury.
Toronto strikes first against the Penguins as Luke Schenn's wrist shot from the right point has eyes and beats Marc-Andre Fleury
on the stick side. Alexei Ponikarovsky makes the pass to set Schenn up. Maple Leafs 1, Penguins 0.
With Kennedy out Mike Rupp is up playing with Jordan Staal
and Matt Cooke
The puck is dropped between Sidney Crosby
and Wayne Primeau and the game is underway.
STAT OF THE NIGHT:
The Penguins are 5-1 this season when they wear their blue third jerseys, including a 4-0 mark at Mellon Arena.
Mark Eaton continues to sit for the Penguins with a knee injury. He did say at today's morning skate that his return should be sooner rather than later. Eric Godard returns to the lineup as Tyler Kennedy
takes the night off versus the Maple Leafs. Toronto's scratches include defenseman Jeff Finger and forward Viktor Stalberg.
The Penguins return from the Christmas break to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at Mellon Arena as they close out a three-game homestand. Pittsburgh defeated the Maple Leafs, 5-2, on Oct. 10 at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto played host to the Montreal Canadiens last night and dropped a 3-2 overtime decision. Ian White and Jason Blake scored for Toronto.
Author: Jason Seidling